Awarepoint, a vendor of health care real-time tracking and location system applications, plans to offer its applications via Amazon Web Services, making it one of the first health I.T. vendors to make the foray into the public cloud.

During an interview at HIMSS13 in New Orleans, Awarepoint CEO Jay Deady said he’s not aware of any other HIT vendor using Amazon’s environment. Amazon has invested heavily in its public cloud and has more than 160 companies using its infrastructure. But HIT vendors, mirroring the reluctance of their clients, have been slow to move their applications to the public cloud, opting instead to enable self-hosting by large providers or provide remote hosting via their own data centers.

But Deady said Amazon has jumped through the hoops to ensure its cloud can handle health care—a vertical the company wants to move into, he added.

First off, Amazon will house all the Awarepoint customer data in U.S.-based servers, a big concern for I.T. leaders worried about data in the cloud being housed offshore.

Amazon will not sign a HIPAA business associate agreement for the service. However, it will not have access to the application and service layers, and not have access to any protected health information. “We are assuming responsibility for the data, and in fact part of this agreement was that we would not provide any access to Amazon staff to our client’s data. They understand the sensitive nature of health data and will isolate themselves from it to ensure its handling is compliant with HIPAA.”

Deady added that Awarepoint didn’t want to invest heavily in building its own data center and hosting services, and wasn’t convinced managed services and other types of health care cloud providers were the right partners. “I’m comfortable with the security safeguards we have in place with Amazon, and it’s a company that's pouring hundreds of millions into its infrastructure and continuously upgrading its services. If you’re going to move to the cloud, that’s the kind of company you want to partner with.”

Awarepoint is in discussions with a current client to beta test the Amazon cloud for its asset, temperature, caregiver and patient tracking applications, Deady said. It plans to make those generally available via the cloud in either May or June, he added. Awarepoint will continue to enable clients to self-host its applications, he added.

 

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